Google's product line can be a bit messy at times. For chat, it has several apps, such as Hangouts and Allo, but it has a separate one solely for video calls called Duo — but Hangouts also supports video. What gives, Google?
Why Google apps overlap is a question for another day, though. The real story is that Google Duo finally supports voicemails and video messages. It allows users to leave short videos when the person they're trying to reach isn't there or isn't answering.
How To Leave Video Messages On Google Duo
According to Google, if the recipient declines or misses a video call, the user can record up to 30 seconds of voice or video to leave them with. When the recipient finally becomes available, they'll find the voice or video message waiting in the app. They can play it by tapping the sender's icon, and they can choose to call them back with a handy "Call now" button that appears after a video message.
Taking a page from Snapchat, Google says all video messages disappear after a day since first viewing, though they can be saved to the camera roll if preferred. Taking a page from WhatsApp, the company also notes that all videos are end-to-end encrypted, so only the sender and recipient have access to them.
Video messages make perfect sense, so much so that one has to ask why they weren't a feature from the get-go.
The update is now rolling out to iOS and Android users, and it should appear worldwide in the next few days. For Android, it's easy to see the necessity of Duo. Until it was released, Google didn't really have a de facto video calling app, and its product lineup was already too chaotic. iOS, on the other hand, is a different story. It already has FaceTime, Apple's proprietary video calling platform, and Duo's presence in Apple's ecosystem makes little sense. However, it's all about numbers. If it gets enough daily active users, Duo can really be a strong player in the video calling landscape.
Duo was released in 2016. Users can sign up with their phone number and engage in video calls with anyone who also has the app installed. It's been relatively popular since launch, with 100 million to 500 million installs, according to its Play Store page.
Do you use Google Duo? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!